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What does Google’s D‑WAVE, Blippar, and Machine Vision have to say about where media is heading?

So why is a com­put­er being able to see be so darn impor­tant, I’ll tell you why, so adver­tis­ers can know exact­ly who you are, wher­ev­er you are, and send a high­ly tar­get­ed prod­uct adver­tise­ment at you through some pret­ty clever channels.

Let’s imag­ine a far future sce­nario, like in 16 months from now, where you are walk­ing down the street and the HD dig­i­tal dis­play screen which is in actu­al­i­ty the glass of a store­front you hap­pen to be pass­ing near calls out to you specif­i­cal­ly. “Hey Jere­my! I love the Ralph Lau­ren Jack­et you’re wear­ing. We just got in the 2017 bold cut of that jack­et in Dark Green, take a look” The dis­play screen pro­ceeds to show you what you would look like by over­lay­ing the new jack­et on top of the old while main­tain­ing the street view behind you by using Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty. The dis­play then pro­ceeds to say “if you come in and buy one right now, we’ll offer you a %10 per­cent dis­count”. You say to your­self, damn, I look great in this jack­et and walk right on in. SUCKER!!!!

Hon­est­ly sce­nar­ios like this are in devel­op­ment right now. Not as cohe­sive as the pic­ture I am try­ing to paint, but all the sep­a­rate pieces are being made as we speak. And don’t think for one sec­ond adver­tis­ers won’t be doing their very best to get you to spend those dol­lars by using advanced tech­nol­o­gy, your aes­thet­ics and ego against you.

Vision is a pri­ma­ry sense, we live in a visu­al-cen­tric world. In order for machines to be able to relate to humans and pro­vide the sup­port we need, it is crit­i­cal they can observe and inter­act in the visu­al envi­ron­ment. Get­ting our devices to under­stand what they are see­ing is a huge chal­lenge and see­ing the world isn’t as sim­ple as build­ing an algo­rithm to parse through data.

The rea­son vision is so com­plex is it requires expe­ri­ence and under­stand­ing of real sit­u­a­tions that allow us to respond accord­ing­ly. Machine vision, a rapid­ly grow­ing branch of AI (arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence) that aims to give machines sight like our own, has made mas­sive strides over the past few years thanks to researchers apply­ing neur­al net­works to help machines iden­ti­fy and under­stand images from the real world.

Start­ing back in 2012 com­put­ers began to rec­og­nize images on the web to include faces, but now this have moved in to the play­ing field of autonomous drones and object recog­ni­tion sys­tems. Robots and drones face a myr­i­ad of obsta­cles that may be out of the norm, and fig­ur­ing out how to over­come these dif­fi­cul­ties is a pri­or­i­ty for those look­ing to real­ly bank on the AI revolution.

Ambar­ish Mitra of Blip­par Is Build­ing a next-gen­er­a­tion app that acts like a Wikipedia of the Phys­i­cal World. By just point­ing the app at every­day objects, the app iden­ti­fies and cat­e­go­rizes near­ly every­thing in the frame. The app launch­es in two weeks in an effort to become a visu­al browser.

Blippar’s app cur­rent­ly lets you pho­to­graph a prod­uct and instant­ly get infor­ma­tion like price, nutri­tion infor­ma­tion, and where you can buy it. Soon the app will let a user just point the cam­era at a wide range of items and iden­ti­fy them in real-time.

The crit­i­cal chal­lenge is mak­ing aug­ment­ed real­i­ty apps work every time and Mitra explains the rea­son peo­ple use Google is because it works every time.

Now since we are speak­ing about Google, they have just pro­mot­ed their D‑Wave 2X quan­tum com­put­er, which it oper­ates along­side NASA at the U.S. space agency’s Ames Research Cen­ter in Cal­i­for­nia. This Google machine works with quan­tum bits, or qubits instead of more con­ven­tion­al bits. The super­po­si­tion of these qubits enable machines to make huge com­pu­ta­tions simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, mak­ing a quan­tum com­put­er high­ly desir­able for Big Data num­ber crunching.

Well I just read in a recent ven­ture beat arti­cle that this kind of pro­cess­ing “could lead to speed-ups for things like image recog­ni­tion, which is in place inside of many Google services”.

Now think about what could hap­pen if you took a Machine vision app like Blip­par and com­bined it with the pro­cess­ing pow­er of Google’s DWAVE proces­sor. There are already a good deal of com­pa­nies engag­ing in oper­at­ing sys­tems that repli­cate the way a brain works so with the con­tin­ued adop­tion of tech­nolo­gies like neur­al net­works and spe­cial­ized machine vision hard­ware, we are rapid­ly clos­ing the gap between human and machine vision.

This could be the cream of the adver­tis­ing crop for sure. Any cam­era or screen could be capa­ble of pick­ing you out of the crowd and be able to tell if you Fit­bit is a cheap knock­off or not. What’s worse is that it would be able to tell if you were exhaust­ed and keep push­ing Red Bulls or 5‑hour ener­gy drinks every­where you go.

Get used to it, soon every­one and every­thing will be look­ing at you.

Just in case you are curi­ous D‑Wave has also sold quan­tum com­put­ers to Lock­heed Mar­tin and the Los Alam­os Nation­al Laboratory.

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